M-Note 3.20.22

A Special M-Note

by Matt Miofsky

When we started The Gathering 16 years ago, our vision was to create a Christian community that is compelling for new generations. Part of this vision was to identify and lift-up a younger generation of leaders for the church. As this vision became reality, The Gathering has been a starting point for so many people to begin their journey of leadership. Consistently developing strong leaders is so rare in a church and such a unique gift of ours. I am so proud of the role we have gotten to play in raising up leaders for the church, here and around our state.
This work is rewarding but means that sometimes we have to say goodbye as those from our church are sent out to lead in other places. Today in worship, we shared the news that Rev. Matt Fulmer was asked by our bishop to become the lead pastor at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He has accepted this position. In his new role, Matt will be leading a vibrant multi-site church with 3 locations.
Matt has been at The Gathering from nearly the beginning. Starting as a lay person, he led CoreGroups and served on our church board. He was first hired to lead our emerging Clayton site over ten years ago. Since that time, he started and completed seminary, has played a leadership role in creating our CoreGroup ministry, led every one of our three sites, provided direction for our other site pastors, and has been an integral part of the faith development of countless people here at The Gathering. Many of you reading this have been influenced and shaped by Matt’s ministry.
This is hard news for many of us, especially me. Matt and I have worked alongside each other for most of The Gathering’s history, and I have loved every minute of it. But I know that ultimately, this is what we are called to do as a church. The Gathering is developing people capable of leading churches in other places, taking what they learned here and applying them wherever they go. I told Matt as we talked about this possibility that while I am sad, I am also proud of him. He is answering a continued call to serve God, and that is all I can hope for.
Matt will be here at The Gathering through the end of July. There will be plenty of time to connect with Matt, and as we get closer to that time, we will certainly have a time to honor his ministry among us and say goodbye. I am working alongside our board to develop a plan for our own leadership here at The Gathering. We will be announcing updates on those plans as they develop this spring. Below is a note from Matt that I hope you will read. As you do, send him a note of congratulations.
Gathering, I am grateful for all of you that continue to answer the call to grow in your faith and serve. God is using our church in incredible ways. While it is hard to say goodbye, we can ultimately be sure that we are doing the work God has called us to do, raising up leaders for a new generation. I am honored to be your pastor.
A Note from Matt Fuler

Making the decision to say goodbye to The Gathering was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made due to my deep love of this community. Fourteen years ago, I came to The Gathering trying to make sense of my faith, hurting from a divorce, and wondering if church was for me. To say that my time with you has been transformative is a drastic understatement. I found healing. I became a pastor. I met and married my best friend. I became a parent. 

You loved and encouraged me, allowing me to stretch and do things I never thought I could do. It’s been a privilege to sit with you in some of your most vulnerable moments. You have allowed me to challenge you to use your gifts in unique ways and step outside of your comfort zone. 

Over the past decade, we have seen God move beyond what I thought was possible. 
I never thought it was possible for me to leave The Gathering to become a lead pastor. When the Bishop called to offer me this opportunity, initially I was guarded and was sure I would refuse. But, as I prayed and remained open, I sensed God nudging me to say yes. 

I know this news is difficult. Ultimately, I said yes because I see taking this new role as a continuation of my work at The Gathering. It is a way to take what we do at The Gathering and offer it to another community. I can only step into this next phase because of what God has done through you and through The Gathering. I love this community, and I’m taking your love and encouragement into this next step in my journey, of which I’m really excited. I ask that you pray for me and my family during this time of transition.

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